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Basic Neuron Questions

John H. johnh at faraway.xxx
Sun Apr 13 11:52:03 EST 2003

"r norman" <rsnorman_ at _comcast.net> wrote in message
news:hbkh9v00qj930tp37c83lbc24828o14dq5 at 4ax.com...
> I particularly like your observation that replications almost never
> produce the same results.  That is the thing that drives my physicist
> colleagues absolutely bonkers.  They really don't get why biology
> is"so hard." They insist it is because we don't know how to do the
> experiments properly!

Reminds of an interview with the noted British astrophysicist Julian Sweet
many years ago. He commented that in physics the task is much easier than in
the Life Sciences because of the relatively low level of complexities
allowing for greater mathematical penetration into the problem under
question. This is a damning feature of Life, the complexities make a mockery
of our most ardent attempts at analysis; and this is certainly not confined
to Neuroscience.

[[22/12/00 12:25
 Neurosurg 2000 Jul;93(1):82-9 Related Articles, Books, LinkOut
Vinall PE, Kramer MS, Heinel LA, Rosenwasser RH

Temporal changes in sensitivity of rats to cerebral ischemic insult.

Abstract extract:

"The time of day when the ischemic infarct was induced had a significant (p
= 0.011) influence on the volume of the lesion. The volume of total brain
infarct produced at 400 hours (7.65 +/- 1.31%) was more than three times
greater than the volume produced at 1600 hours."

Now who would ever *assume* that changes in core body temperature(strong
correlation in this study, though obviously ... ) could have such a
pronounced effect on infarct size? Moreover, a recent news item cited a
study where the bods had done some experiments indicating that even the lab
environment can have a significant effect on the relevant results. Even the
smell of the lab! Another report sometime back reported that in vitro cell
culture studies can be very misleading simply because of oxygen exposure
that is not typical in vivo.

So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to sign up for an accountancy course.

John H.

> Yes, latencies from a peripheral stimulus get sloppy passing through
> intervening synapses. But can't accurate timing still occur even at
> the cortical level in the sense of coincidence detection -- as in
> presynaptic inhibition?

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